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Austin interim board member

By Staff, 11/15/17 9:23 AM

SCHOOLS

PRESCOTT – Howard Austin will be the new board member for Zone 2 for the Prescott School Board.

Austin replaces Sandra Evans, who died recently. His term will last until the May primary election, unless he chooses to run for the seat which has a five-year term. This decision was made at the November meeting of the board Tuesday evening.

It was said Austin was the only person in the district interested in the post.

Evans was also the board’s secretary and was replaced in that position by Ryan Harvey, who was voted in by the members present, though he wasn’t at the meeting.

The board discussed when to hold the next school election, as the Arkansas Legislature now requires school elections to be held in either May, with primary elections, or November, with the General Election. The panel discussed both options before going with May, and setting May 24, 2018, as the date for the next school election. The reasoning is new members coming on in May would have time to learn more about the process, especially school financing, than they would in November, which would put them taking their seat in December in the midst of the holiday season. This is important because evaluations are done by the board in January.

Additionally, having the election in May means it won’t be competing with as many other offices up for election as there would be in November, so voters could take more time in selecting who they think would be best suited for the position instead of rushing through the ballot, marking names.

The board approved a resolution to this effect and the Nevada County Clerk will be notified of its decision.

The board also approved a purchase order for $16,103.80 for Renaissance Learning, Inc. for the district’s accelerated reader program. This, Robert Poole, superintendent, said, isn’t anything new, just the renewal of the district’s contract with the company for K-12 services.

Enrollment in the Prescott School District is 979, with 529 in Prescott Elementary School and 450 in Prescott High School.

A resolution requesting the district be given permission to start school earlier than schedule was approved as well. Poole said the way the calendar falls for the 2018-19 school year, it would put the opening of school a week later, which would mean it would be June before school ended in 2019. The resolution will be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Education for approval. Poole said another district in the state has already done this and was approved. Should the ADE grant the PSD permission to start early, the first day of school would be Aug. 13, 2018.

A list of inventory items was approved for disposal. Most, Poole said, are out of date or broken and need to be taken off the inventory before the district is audited. One item dates back to 1967.

Poole updated the board on the joint venture between the PSD and the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH) with a welding program to start Jan. 9, 2018, and run for a semester. Those taking the course, which will meet Mondays and Tuesdays from 6-8:45 p.m. at PHS, will also give students four credit hours. PHS students taking the course will have their tuition paid by the district, while financial aid is available for all others. The course is open to all interested. UACCH will be bringing its portable welding trailer to PHS, with the district’s agriculture department also being used.

Poole said if this goes well, the two schools will look into partnering up for more classes at PHS.

Because of the holidays, the December meeting would fall the day after Christmas. The board voted to change the meeting to Dec. 19 instead. The last day of school will be Dec. 20, before letting out for the Christmas break.

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